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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

East Lake Fire Rescue backs decision to demote firefighter accused of racial slurs



East Lake fire commissioners threw their support behind fire Chief Tom Jamison on Thursday, confirming his decision to strip the rank of a lieutenant accused of racial slurs and lewd text messages.

Jamison demoted firefighter James Finley in May after an investigation suggested he frequently called a Hispanic co-worker "dirty Mexican" and "gay Puerto Rican."

Finley also sent at least two racial text messages to fellow firefighters, including a photo of a black man popping out of a box with the message: "Thanks for the gift, but I am sending it back it won't f------ work." Another showed a naked woman with a towel on her head, saying "Not all towel heads are bad!!"

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[Last modified: Friday, July 19, 2013 10:35am]


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